Where is Gods True Church Today (1973)_b.pdf - Herbert W ...

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Where is Gods True Church Today (1973)_b.pdf - Herbert W ...

Where Is God's

TRUE CHURCH

Today?

by Brian Knowles

AMBASSADOR COLLEGE PRESS

Pasadena, California


This booklet is not to be sold.

It is a free educational service in

the public interest, published by

Ambassador College.

© 1973 Ambassador College

All Rights Reserved

Printed in U.S.A.


Does Jesus Christ have

many different church

denominations each

teaching a different "qospel"

andpracticing different doctrines

- doing His Work? Is Christ

divided? How, when and where

did this religious babylon of

hundreds of denominations get

started? And how does one

recognize the true Church?


Table

of

Contents

Chapter One

The Salvation Supermarket 9

Chapter Two

Why So Many Denominations? . 14

Chapter Three

What Is the Church? 000.0 0...... 23

Chapter Four

How to Find the True Church .. 0.. 0.... 0...... 33


Chapter One

TIRE A vast religious supermarket, modern society offers

U a superabundance of prepackaged and widely diversified

Christianity. Looking over the conflicting

panorama of Christian denominationalism, one sees a

remarkable spectacle indeed!

Today's salvation scene is a glittering array of every

conceivable style and type of "Christianity." Whatever

your tastes or approach to religion, there is something for

you.

Salvation for Sale

The time is Sunday morning. The place is a typical

American city of medium size. It is the day those who

profess Christianity attend the church of their choice.

Some have chosen the large and ornate cathedral at

the top of the hill. It is among the most prominent structures

in the city. Inside, several hundred devout worshippers

kneel piously before a decorative altar as the pungent

odor of burning candles wafts through the stale air.

Intricately carved figurines line the soaring walls as the

robed figure conducting the services monotonously mutters

in a language not understood by most of the congregatiOli

Around the corner and up the block another service is


10 Where Is God's True Church Today?

being conducted in the name of Jesus Christ. Here it is a

congregation that speaks in an "unknown tongue"! The

phenomenon is commonly known as "glossalalia." Supposedly,

these worshippers are speaking in a language inspired

by "the Spirit." Eyes glazed, backs arched in ecstatic

frenzy, participants of all sizes and shapes may be seen

writhing and twisting on the floor of this simple, one-room,

"pentecostal-" type church. Lips move uncontrollably as

unintelligible gibberish gurgles from the throats of grotesque

figures. The air is literally laced with rhythmic

organ and piano sounds as others shout "Hallelujah!" and

"Praise Jesus!"

Can anyone fault such devotees for a lack of sincerity

and enthusiasm?

Quiet Dignity

Not all congregations are this "turned on," however.

Some Sunday services are conducted with quiet Protestant

dignity and decorum. Just down the street the

stained-glass tones of a more sedate preacher may be

heard as pink platitudes are presented to a composed and

dignified congregation. Following a short ten-minute "sermon,"

a gorgeously robed choir fills the air with the strains

of an old favorite hymn known and loved by all. The

majestic sounds of a huge pipe organ accompany the choir

as the congregation joins in singing praise.

Still another church with a difference, however, may

be found near the freeway. This is the "drive-in" church.

Here the attendees need never leave their automobiles to

participate in worship services. A flip of their car radio dial

will tune them in to their pastor who preaches from a

raised platform in front of a large parking lot. At least if

parishioners don't appreciate the words of their preacher,

they always have the option of tuning him out! Some may

choose to tune in one of the many "radio evangelists" who

fill the air waves with weekly doses of religion in a variety

of packages.

Electronic "Evangelists"

To many religious people, "going to church" is just too

much of a bother. After all, they can get their religion on


Everyone "knows" one religion is about as good as another.

Still, every person who goes to church "knows" his

particular brand of religion will probably get him to "heaven"

a little more quickly, a little more efficiently, than all the

others. Either he believes this, or he is settling for second

best.

Ever notice the remarkable similarity between claims of

dozens of religious philosophies and the detergent ads?

One claims it washes your clothes "cleaner than clean'"

The fact that such a statement is an impossible exaggeration

'never occurs to people. Still another claims it gets your

clothes "cleaner." But "cleaner" than what? Other soaps and

detergents?

How can this be possible? All of them claim to get clothes

"cleaner," too. How accurate would it be for you to adopt the

idea that "all these detergent ads can't be wrong"?

Let's ask the question another way. Can they all be right? If

anyone of them is to be believed - positively - then every

other one must automatically be assumed to be wrong. If any

one of them really does get your clothes cleaner - then the

unspoken inference is that they get your clothes cleaner than

any other product.

What about religious philosophies? People say, "But all

these religions, these organizations, these philosophies can't

be wrong." But can they all be right?

Utterly impossible. If anyone of them is right - and

remember, they all differ - then that one being right automatically

renders all others wrong.

But in "choosing" a religion, a faith, or a church ­

thousands pick and choose just as if they were selecting

colorful boxes of soaps and detergents from the shelves of the

supermarket.

Surveys show many frankly admit they attend their church

because of its size, its standing in the community, its nearness

to their home, or the parking facility.

Only a few admitted they had given at least a little time to

searching into what the church taught. Fewer still seemed to

wonder whether it has the truth of God's Word'

What about you? Will you accept God's true religion based

on His Word?


12 Where Is God's True Church Today?

the radio. The lineup of electronic "evangelists" seems to

be almost endless.

Some listeners are asked to "establish a point of contact"

by placing their hand on the radio. Preaching styles

are many and varied. Some "evangelists" wheeze in a

raspy fervency while others shout in stentorian tones

appealing to their listeners to "send in your love offerin's

to keep this ministry on the air." Every psychological

device known to man is used to invoke a response from the

masses "out there in radio land." "A generous offerin'" will

bring the listener anything from a prayer cloth cut from

the revival tent to "sacred willow twigs."

But radio has its limitations. 'Many "evangelists" have

now turned to the more effective medium of television to

peddle their brand of salvation.

The TV Scene

Only the more successful radio evangelists have been

able to utilize the costly medium of television. Elaborate

costumes and sets, big-name entertainers and professional

direction and production are essential for effective presentation.

More and more radio preachers are making the transition

as television becomes firmly ensconced as the most

effective method of mass communication yet devised by

man.

Some peddlers of piety have ignored both radio and

television. They have retained the older "tent meetin'"

approach. These itinerent preachers travel from town to

town holding revival meetings and tent campaigns, relying

on their personal magnetism and charisma to gain followings.

Small town populations often turn out en masse for

such presentations because they are the only available

form of entertainment. Nothing can quite match the show

business pizzaz of some of these revival preachers. Every

performance is a triumph of dramatics, applied psychology

and stage presence. Audiences are urged to contribute

heavily as they are swept by wave after wave of religious

emotionalism. "Decisions" are made and hearts are given

"to the Lord" year after year as revivalists capitalize on


The Salvation Supermarket 13

the ignorance of comparatively uneducated masses who

thirst for a relationship with their Creator.

American Missionary Zeal

No nation surpasses America when it comes to broadcasting

and advertising its way of life to the world. And

she is no exception when it comes to her religious wares.

"Evangelists" and missionaries have been sent to the

four corners of the earth in an effort to "spread the word"

and "win souls for Christ." Britain too was bitten by an

unusual missionary zeal and has contributed heavily to

the spreading of Protestant sectarianism around the

world. Other colonizing nations such as Holland, Germany,

France and Spain have also had their part in proliferating

their own brands of Christianity around the

globe.

World View of Christianity

The world view of Christianity is both confusing and

upsetting. Though there has been no U. S. census of religious

bodies since 1936, the 1972 edition of The Yearbook

of American Churches lists some 246 denominations in

America alone. This estimate does not include many

smaller and more obscure sects, independent churches and

other groups.

Canada, a nation of less than 25 million inhabitants,

claims some 74 denominations of Christianity. Even predominantly

Catholic Italy lays claim to 13 Protestant

denominations within its borders. Black Africa, on the

other hand, has some 5000 sects all claiming roots in

Christianity! This does not include the basically European

or white denominations and sects on that continent.

All these denominations and sectarian divisions claim

the label "Christian." But are they really? Is Christ

divided? How many churches did Jesus of Nazareth establish?

Is God the author of such confusion and division?

Where is God's one true Church today?


Chapter Two

Is JESUS the author of modern denominational confusion?

Is Christ divided into hundreds of dissonant

sects and denominations?

Jesus Christ did not found many denominations. He

said, "I will build my church ..." (Matt. 16:18). And He

did build it. One Church, commissioned to preach the

gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world.

But what do we find today? Hundreds of churches,

founded by men, all disagreeing with each other!

Jesus Christ said such things would happen!

He warned you would be living in a world literally

filled with religious confusion. He said, "Take heed that no

man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying

I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:4, 5).

Notice Christ said many would come "in my name," that

is, using the name of Jesus Christ as if they had His

authority.

How It All

Began

In Jesus' day there were no "Christian" denominations.

The Jewish religious leaders sat in Moses' seat and

judged in both religious and civil matters (Matt. 23:1-2).

Jesus acknowledged their authority (verse 3). But he also

made it clear that they were disqualifying themselves from


Why So Many Denominations? 15

further service as God's earthly representatives. Because

of their hypocrisy and internal corruption, they were no

longer fit to administer the way into God's Kingdom

(Matt. 23:4-28).

Jesus told them: "Therefore say I unto you, The

kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a

nation bringing forth the fruits thereof' (Matt. 21:43).

But who was that "nation"? To whom did Christ give

the responsibility of administering the way into His Kingdom?

Peter, addressing the Church of God, wrote: "But you

are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation,

and a people, claimed by God for his own, to proclaim the

triumphs of him who called you out of darkness into his

marvellous light, Ye are now the people of God, who were

once not his people; outside his mercy once, you have now

received his mercy" (I Peter 2:9, The New English Bible).

Christ's own Church is now the vehicle through which

God does His work. But aren't there many churches

through which Christ administers salvation?

Jesus' final prayer for His Church provides the

answer. "I pray for them: I pray not for the world ... Holy

Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou

hast given me, that they may be one, as we are" (John 17:9,

11).

Again, the Apostle Paul plainly said, "There is one

body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of

your calling; one Lord, one faith [body of beliefs], one

baptism ..." (Eph. 4:4-5).

Christ is not divided! He founded only one Church

with a single body of beliefs and doctrines.

The Church to Be Small and

Scattered

Nowhere in the Bible do we find God's Church

described as a large and influential body in the world. On

the contrary, we find Jesus addressing the Church as the

"little flock" (Luke 12:32).

"If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute

you," said Jesus to His disciples (John 15:20). "... All that


16 Where Is God's True Church Today?

will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,"

wrote the Apostle Paul (II Tim. 3:12).

On the night Jesus was seized to be crucified, He said,

"It is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep

shall be scattered" (Mark 14:27).

Later, in Acts 8, we read of a great persecution which

caused the Church to be scattered throughout the regions

of Judaea and Samaria.

And the small, yet united, Church of God has been

scattered over the face of the earth, to one degree or

another, ever since.

Many False Prophets

On the other hand, Jesus warned: "And many false

prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:11).

It was the majority - the many - that were to be

deceived by a bogus, counterfeit Christianity! Jesus said,

"Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to

destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

because strait [difficult] is the gate, and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it"

(Matt. 7:13-14).

Christ revealed in Revelation 12:9 that the whole

world isin a state of deception. "And the great dragon was

cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,

which deceiveth the whole world. . . ." All of society has

come under the deceptive influence of this powerful, yet

incredibly evil spirit being. He is called "the god of this

world" in II Corinthians 4:4.

Satan Has His Ministers

Satan the devil has his ministers. Paul wrote: "For

such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming

themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for

Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore

it is no great thing if his [Satan~s] ministers also be

transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end

shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:13-15).

To understand what a false prophet (a minister of

Satan) is, it is easiest to define the contrast of a true


Why So Many Denominations? 17

prophet - a true minister of God. This is the shortest

approach because there is only one true ministry, but

there are many false ones. If we define a true minister,

then all others who do not fit that definition will be

revealed for what they are.

The True Ministry

What, then, does identify a genuine servant of God?

The Bible certainly does not leave us ignorant on this vital

question. Here are four important qualifications:

One: A true minister of God must study, preach and

live by every word of God - including the Ten Commandments.

If a man tells you something that he knows disagrees

with God's revealed Word, he instantly disqualifies

himself from being a true minister of Christ. Isaiah 8:20

and Matthew 4:4 confirm this.

Two: A true minister will teach the exact same gospel

Jesus did - the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.

He will teach repentance of sin and acceptance of Christ's

shed blood as a remission for those sins. But he will also

teach the very meaning of life - that we are made in

God's image to be finally born into His very family, that

man is to overcome and develop character so he can

become like God his Father, qualified to join other spiritborn

saints in literally ruling the world under Christ's

direction (Rev. 2:26). .

Three: A true minister must be busy doing the Work

of God. Busy warning a sick and cynical world where its

sins are leading it, busy broadcasting, preaching and

announcing the good news of the soon-coming Kingdom of

God (Matt. 24:14).

He will have a deep understanding of biblical prophecy.

He will make these prophecies come alive with power

- warning this sophisticated, modern world of Christ's

imminent return, and focusing especially on the sooncoming

Kingdom - the literal government of God - to be

set up in the wonderful world tomorrow.

Four: A true minister can be identified by the fruits of

his ministry. What kind of results are being produced by

his efforts? Are lives being changed for the better? Are


18 Where Is God's True Church Today?

problems being solved? Do his words contain answers, or

are they mere platitudes and the quoting of poetry?

These are key points. Unless a man fulfills these absolutely

basic requirements, he is an imposter, merely masquerading

as a minister of Christ! [Editor's Note: If you

would like to meet and counsel with one of God's ministers

- let us know and we'll put you in contact with one in

your area. See page 41 for further details].

Many False Ministers

Maybe you are thinking, "Well, surely there are very

few ministers who would dare to deliberately twist God's

Word and deceive people. The ministers I know are sincere

and honest. Fine men." And undoubtedly there are many

very sincere men in the ministry. But it is possible to be

sincere and yet also be very much deceived. It is entirely

possible to be sincerely wrong!

You see, God did not say the false prophets would be

in the minority. God tells us there will be many such

individuals. Remember, Christ said: "For many [not a

small minority, but the many] shall come in my name

[claiming to represent Christ], saying I [Jesus] am Christ

[proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth as Saviour and Messiah];

and shall deceive many." So says your Bible in Matthew

24:5, 11.

Here God shows us that vast numbers of people would

be deceived by great numbers of false ministers who would

falsely claim to represent Christ.

Now you know how to recognize the true men of God

and also how to pinpoint a false prophet.

The Great False Church

The true Church of God came into being in 31 A.D. on

the Day of Pentecost. God blessed it with a great outpouring

of His power - His Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-8,

17-18).

Soon after, the great false church had its beginning.

Even in the earliest of Paul's epistles, he informs us

that "the mystery of iniquity doth already work"

(II Thess. 2:7). Paul apparently wrote this in 50 or 51 A.D.


Why So Many Denominations? 19

The plot to supplant the truth had already begun. Notice,

the cleverly disguised teachings of iniquity or lawlessness

were at work in Paul's day. The Roman world was being

filled with numerous mystery religions which stemmed

from the old sun-worshipping mysteries. In the later

epistles of Paul, and in those of the other apostles, we find

it gaining considerable momentum.

The apostles, instructed directly by Jesus Christ, constantly

warned the Church about the great departure

from the faith that would begin to occur at the close of

their ministry.

Scarcely twenty years after the crucifixion of Jesus,

the Apostle Paul, in one of his first inspired letters, cautioned

Christians not to be deceived by false preaching or

by false letters purporting to be from the apostles. "Let no

man deceive you by any means: for that day [the time of

God's intervention in human affairs when Jesus Christ will

return to rule the nations] shall not come, except there

come a falling away FIRST" (II Thes. 2:3).

Apostles Knew What Would Happen

In Acts 20:29-30, the teacher of the Gentiles explains

how the apostasy would begin. He gathered the elders

(ministers) of the Church at Ephesus to deliver them a

final message concerning their responsibility over the local

congregations. "For," said Paul, "I know this, that after

my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you,

not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men

arise, speaking perverse things." Why? "To draw away

disciples after them. ~~ To gain a personal following for

themselves! To start a new denomination!

Do you catch the full significance of these two verses?

The elders or ministers were especially assembled because,

immediately after Paul would leave Ephesus, there would

come within the local Church congregations false ministers,

wolves in sheep's clothing, to make a prey of Christians;

and even from those elders already in the Church

congregations some would pervert the doctrine of Jesus to

secure a following for themselves.


20 Where Is God's True Church Today?

Gentile Deception Prophesied

Not only Paul, but also Peter, warned the churches

that MANY would be misled. There were false teachers

among Christians who would bring in heresies, "and MANY

shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the

way of truth shall be evil spoken of' (II Pet. 2:2).

False teachers secretly professed to giving a hidden,

yet easy, way to evade the consequences of breaking God's

law. Jude had to include in his letter the admonition that

every Christian "should earnestly contend for the faith

which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are

certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old

ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the

grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only

Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.... These be they

who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit"

(Jude 3, 4, 19).

True Christians Forced Out

Although numerous deceivers, called Gnostics, left

the Church, drawing away disciples after them, there was

an even more dangerous apostasy which infiltrated the

true Church.

In instructing the Evangelist Timothy, the apostle to

the Gentiles instructed him to "reprove, rebuke, exhort

with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come

when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their

own lusts" - the congregations wanting to do what they

please - "shall they heap to themselves teachers" - elect

ministers who will preach what they want to hear ­

"... and they shall turn away their ears from the truth,

and shall be turned unto fables" (II Tim. 4:2-4).

This was in the days of the apostles and evangelists.

Many who fellowshipped in the local congregations of the

early Church, after about two generations, did not endure

sound doctrine because they had not repented and

received the Holy Spirit. They elected teachers who, for

the sake of money, pleased their wishes by preaching

fables - the enticing fables of mysticism and sun-worship


Why So Many Denominations? 21

that were engulfing the Roman Empire. The letters of

Paul were twisted by them to give another meaning than

intended (II Pet. 3:15-16).

But instead of leaving the local congregations and

forming their own sects, as some Gentiles did at first, the

false preachers remained within the congregations and

soon began to expel the true Christians.

In the letter of the Apostle John to Gaius, we read: "I

wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to

have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he

-doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not

content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the

brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth

them out of the church" (III John 9-10).

The true Christians, who alone comprised the true

Church, were being put out of the visible, organized congregations.

They were the SCATTERED ones of whom John

said: "Therefore the world knoweth us not" (I John 3:1).

In the Western Roman Empire, where Paul died, the state

of Christianity was even more advanced along the paths of

error. The name Christian was being borne away by leaders

who crept into the fellowship of the Church of God and

who, in the name of Christ, deceived the many into following

their false teachings.

The Two Churches

Thetwo churches (one false and one true) continued

to grow and extend their influence over vast areas of the

Roman Empire. The Apostle Paul reached many Gentile

areas with the truth of God. But he was constantly

opposed by Jewish and Gentile religious leaders. After the

death of Paul, the oldest apostle, John, spoke of apostates

who were undermining the efforts of God's true Church.

"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have

heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many

antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They

went out from us, but they were not all of us . . ." (I John

2:18-19).

False apostles continued down through the centuries


22 Where Is God's True Church Today?

to deceive the gullible. Soon the false church surpassed the

true Church of God in size and influence. False Christianity

became confused with the true Church instituted by

Jesus Christ.

God's small and scattered flock disappeared into

obscurity. The only remaining records being those of her

enemies. Centuries of intense persecution forced the body

of Christ to go underground. Traces of it are seen here and

there but it never again was to become a substantial or

influential entity again until the latter part of this very

century!

Today God has raised up a faithful body of believers

in order to proclaim the end-time message of the coming

Kingdom of God. He has set before them open doors to

preach that gospel or good news. Radio, television and the

printing press are all being utilized to carry that vital

message which for centuries has been suppressed by those

who hold down the truth in unrighteousness (Romans

1:18).

But just what is the Church? Is it a group of buildings?

An organization of men and women?


Chapter Three

To SOME, the Church is a building to which one goes

on a Sunday morning. To others, it is the sum total

of all Christendom with its myriad organizations,

orders, sects and denominations. Still others believe their

particular human organization is the Church of God. But

what is God's definition of the Church?

The Apostle Paul, referring to Christ's present position

at the right hand of God the Father, said that the

Father has "put all things under his feet, and gave him to

be the head over all things to the church, which is his

body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22­

23).

Again we are toldthat Christ is "... the head of the

body, the church ..." (Col. 1:18).

The Church, then, is the spiritual body of Christ. It is

the organism through which He works. But, just how is it

the body of Christ?

How the "Body of Christ"

The twelve disciples became the twelve original

apostles (Judas Iscariot excepted -- Matthias was chosen

in his place). But how did they, with the other disciples,

become "the body of Christ"?

While Jesus was starting the Work of God, He said: "I

can of mine own self do nothing," and again, "The Son can

do nothing of himself," and again, "... but the Father that


26 Where Is God's True Church Today?

How Made a Member

But how may one become a member of the body of

Christ? Is it merely a matter of joining the "church of your

choice"?

Jesus said: "No man can come to me, except the

Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him

up at the last day" (John 6:44, 65).

One cannot decide to join the body of Christ. It is

something God must put you into. We are instructed by

the Apostle Paul that "... now hath God set the members

everyone of them in the body, as it hath pleased him"

(I Cor. 12:18).

It is God alone who decides who will compose the

body of Christ. It is God who adds to the Church those

whom He chooses to be saved. ". .. And the Lord added to

the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

How, then, does God add a member to the Church? Is

it a matter of signing on some dotted line? What is it that

signifies membership in the Church of God?

Paul informs us: "For by one Spirit are we all baptized

into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we

be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one

Spirit" (I Cor. 12:13).

It is the Holy Spirit - which is the power of God

(Acts 1:8) - which puts us into the body of Christ. We are

immersed or plunged into the Church by the receipt of

God's Spirit. (Write for our free article titled "How You

Can Be Imbued with the Power of God.")

One cannot put himself into the Church by "deciding

to join." When he becomes a son of God, by having and

being led by the Holy Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14), then God

has put him into the Church.

"Joining" a group that calls itself a church - having

one's name on the membership roll of some group calling

itself a church - does not make one in true fact a member

of the Church Jesus founded. Here is positive proof: "But

ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the

Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the

Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9).


Who is the real Head of God's true Church today? Jesus Christ?

Or some human individual? Some think that Matthew 16:18

proves that Christ turned the headship of the Church over to men.

But, what is the real truth? Let us examine this scripture very

closely.

Jesus said: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter

[Greek inspired original word, petros, meaning a "stone"], and

upon this rock [Greek inspired original word, petra, meaning a

"Iedge" or "shelf of rock" or a "crag"] I will build my church"

(Matt. 16:18).

Now, since some claim that the rock on which the Church was

founded refers to Peter - and not Christ - notice the true

meaning, as originally written by Matthew in the Greek language.

The English versions of today are translations from the original

Greek.

Peter was also called Cephas (Greek Kephes, from the Aramaic

Kepha). In John 1:40-42 is related how Andrew, Simon Peter's

brother, found Peter, and brought him to Jesus. "And when

Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou

shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone" (verse

42). The English word "stone" is translated from the Greek word

petros, meaning a single stone or loose stone. Also the Greek

word Kephss means such a stone, referring definitely to a human

man.

But when Jesus said "upon this rock I will build my church"

(Matt. 16: 18), the Greek word, as written originally by Matthew,

was not either Kephas or petros, but petra, which means a large

massive rock.

The Greek petra cannot mean the human Peter, but the glorified

Christl Speaking of the Israelites under Moses in the wilderness,

Paul writes: " ... for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed

them: and that Rock was Christ" (I Cor. 10:4).

The Church is described in Ephesians 2:20 as being "built

upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [including Old

Testament prophets], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner

stone. " Here Christ is plainly said to be the chief, or head.

The real foundation of the Church is Christ. "For other foundation

can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor.

3:11). And Jesus Himself said: "1 will never leave thee, nor

forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). He is shown in Revelation 1: 13, 18 to

be the Living Head, spiritually in the midst of the Church. Read of

it also in Ephesians 5:23; 4:15; 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 2:19.

Christ is alive today! For more than 1900 years, He has been

the Living Head and High Priest of the true Church, which He

built.


28 Where Is God's True Church Today?

It is the living Christ who puts members into His

Church - and it is done by the Holy Spirit. Notice, now,

the conditions for receiving God's Spirit - Acts 2:38:

"Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of

Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive

the gift of the Holy Spirit." This is speaking of being

baptized in water. (Write for our free booklet titled All

About Water Baptism.)

The Holy Spirit is given by the laying on of hands

following baptism (Acts 19:5, 6). A person who receives the

Holy Spirit is "begotten" or conceived of God. Following a

life of developing and overcoming, the Christian is "born"

into the Family of God at the resurrection and return of

Christ (I Cor. 15:50-54; I Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 20:4-6; Phil.

3:20-21; I John 3:1-2; II Tim. 4:8).

That body of believers, having the Holy Spirit of God,

constitutes the Church of God. But does this mean that

the Church has no organization?

How the Church is Organized

The Church of God is a spiritual organism. Christ is

its head and it is composed of ministers and lay members.

It is the minister's responsibility to feed the flock (see

John 21:15-17; Luke 22:32). He is required to be spiritually

elder.

Biblical standards governing the ministry are

enforced in the true Church. The Apostle Paul wrote to

the young evangelist Timothy: "A bishop [minister or

elder] then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,

vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt

[able] to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of

filthy lucre [undue monetary riches]; but patient, not a

brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house,

having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a

man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he

take care of the church of God?) not a novice [a newcomer]

..." (I Tim. 3:2-6).

True ministers of God, Christ-chosen according to

these strict biblical standards, are very concerned about

the laity (individual church members). They willingly feed


What Is the Church? 29

the flock of God (I Pet. 5:1-3). They strive to bring the

Church to spiritual maturity (Eph. 4:11-13).

On the other hand, lay members of God's true Church

respect and obey the ministry (Heb. 13:7, 17).

Now some questions naturally emerge.

Can one who does not know of the true organized

Body doing God's Work, and therefore is outside of it, be a

member of the true Church which Christ built? The

answer is yes - for it is possible for one to have truly

repented, believed, and received God's Spirit - and be

following that Spirit as far as he sees and understands ­

who does not know of the organized Work Christ is using

today. But surely God's Spirit in him would lead one, in

due time, into his part in the organized Body the living

Christ is directing.

Is it possible that one who has joined a sect, church,

or denomination not doing God's Work, might be truly

converted, and led by God's Spirit in him? The answer is

yes - we have known of a few. But in every case, either

they came into the organized spiritual organism Christ is

using in the real Work of God - or, when their eyes were

opened to further light and truth, they rejected it and lost

the Spirit of God. And this was amply demonstrated by

the fruits.

Why the Church of Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was born in Bethlehem in

Judaea. He was the Son of God in the flesh. His ministry

lasted from the fall of 27 A.D. to the spring of 31 A.D. He

came to do the Work of preaching the gospel of the coming

Kingdom of God and to die for the sins of mankind. Part of

His work consisted of training disciples (students or learners)

to carryon the Work after His death on the cross. At

the completion of His ministry, He had 120 such students.

At least twelve of them became apostles (Acts 1:15,26).

After the death of Jesus, the apostles carried on the

preaching of the gospeL They traveled to distant countries

with the message of God's government. Of course, they

had to rely on personal evangelism since the modern printing

press and the radio had not been invented. Their work


God is Creator. Everything God has created in nature is

organized. Take a sturdy, beautiful oak tree. It has a root

system in the ground. It has a main trunk. It has major

branches joining to that trunk, smaller branches joined to

them, still smaller branches joined to each minor branch,

and finally the twigs joined to the smallest branches. But

they are all joined together as a system.

Jesus used the example of the vine. He is the Vine, we

the· branches (John 15: 1-8). Unless we are joined systematically

to the Vine, we can produce nothing. In a grape

vine, there is order - system - organization. '

The whole Work of God functions toward the restoration

of what has been taken away from the earth - the

government of God. The Kingdom of God is that government.

That government is an organized government.

God's form of government is government from the top

down. God the Father is the extreme top. Under Him is

the living Christ, administering God's government as God

directs.

And Jesus has set organization - government - order

- in the Church, under Him. God compares this

organized Body of Christ to a building.

"Now therefore ye ... are built upon the foundation of

the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the

chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed

together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in

whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of

God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2: 19-22).

The living Christ, Head of the Church, has put the

various administrators, officers, and members into the

Church as He Himself chose (I Cor. 12: 18, 28). Not as a

man chooses for himself.

. ~==--====-=>-=-===---=-~==~=====-====-=-====~


What Is the Church? 31

was limited to the confines of the Roman Empire and a

few other countries.

One by one, tradition tells us, they were martyred.

John outlived all the others. Following John's death

around the end of the first century, others carried on the

Work. But from that time on, the organized preaching of

the gospel on a large scale fades from view. Of course, the

true Church continued to exist alongside a growing

counterfeit of biblical Christianity described in chapter

two of this booklet.

However, the true Church never died (Matt. 16:18). It

continued through various stages or eras, but not as a

powerful worldwide organization. It existed as a relatively

obscure, scattered and powerless entity for centuries. But

it never lost the basic truths of God. The true Church

recognized the true gospel. And undoubtedly the gospel

was preached on a small personal scale. But following the

death of John, the organized preaching of the gospel on a

powerful basis ceased. The Church was persecuted and its

numbers decimated in great martyrdoms. The concentrated

power of the "holy people" was scattered so that a

worldwide Work was virtually impossible.

God's Church Today

It was not until this modern twentieth century that

God again raised up a Work of sufficient size and influence

to preach the gospel on a powerful worldwide basis!

Today the primary objective of the Church of God is

to preach and publish the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom

and government of God (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Mark

13:10). God has commissioned His Church to cry aloud

and spare not, and show our peoples their sins (Isa. 58:1).

Its job is not to appease or cajole a sin-laden society. It is

to warn and witness to a world bent on self-destruction!

As an additional responsibility, God's Church represents

His way of life on this earth. Its members are commanded

by Christ to'be a light to the world (Matt. 5:14­

16). A light shows the way. It sets the example. The

Church is called collectively the "salt of the earth."

As Jesus was a newscaster, so the Church is also to


32 Where Is God's True Church Today?

bring the positive good news of Christ's return and point

society to the world tomorrow. Speaking prophetically of

the Church, Isaiah wrote: "0 Zion, that bringest good

tidings [the gospel], get thee up into the high mountain; 0

Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice

with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities

of Judah, Behold your God!" (Isa. 40:9.)

Isaiah again referred to the commission of the New

Testament Church in chapter 52. "How beautiful upon the

mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,

that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good,

that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God

reigneth!" (Verse 7.)

Notice. The gospel includes the knowledge of just how

the world may obtain peace, of how good may prevail

against evil, of how salvation may be achieved. It proclaims

the coming rule of God. The Apostle Paul quoted

Isaiah in Romans 10:14-15 showing that he was indeed

referring to the Church.

In summary, Jesus said: "And this gospel of the kingdom

shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto

all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14).

The Church is for the purpose of preaching that gospel

to the world just before the culmination of this society.

The Spirit-led Christians of the Church of God provide the

human instruments through which God does His end-time

work.


Chapter Four

I

N THE confusing hodgepodge of denominational Christianity,

how can you locate the true Church of God?

Do not all claim to be a part of the body of Christ?

Will any Church say it is not the Church Jesus founded?

Of course not!

It is necessary to go to the Maker's Instruction Book

- the Bible - to find out just how you may locate the

Church which truly represents God's way on this earth.

Upholds God's Law

The true Church upholds God's law. It recognizes that

God set in motion a law that would bring (if obeyed) humanity

every good thing - abundant well-being - a full life.

God's Church boldly proclaims that His law is not

done away, but has been Christ-expanded to cover every

aspect of human activity (Isa. 42:21; Matt. 5).

The true Church says with David: "Thy word is a

lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps.

119:105). It recognizes that God's law is one of His greatest

gifts to mankind.

Must Preach the Correct Gospel

Jesus Christ came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom

of God. "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus


34 Where Is God's True Church Today?

came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of

God" (Mark 1:14). This is the same gospel His Church

preaches! (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20.)

The apostles later preached that same message of the

coming world government of the Kingdom of God. This is

the only gospel message acceptable to God. "But though

we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto

you than that which we have preached unto you, let him

be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any

man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have

received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8).

Strong words those! But it does show just how important

it is to God that His Church be preaching the right

message. No other gospel will do! (Write for our free

booklet What Is the True Gospel?)

God's Church Understands

His Plan of Salvation

The true Church of God is the vehicle through which

God administers salvation. It understands the ultimate

purpose of human existence.

God has a plan by which mankind can be born into

the very divine Family of God. It involves repentance, the

forgiveness of sin, water baptism, and full redemption and

salvation (see Acts 2:38; 3:19). No other Church but God's

truly understands that man is to become God! The

Apostle John wrote toward the close of the first century:

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet

appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall

appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is"

(I John 3:2).

Jesus Himself was criticized for saying that He was

the son of God. He answered: "Is it not written in your

law, I said, Ye are gods. If he called them gods, unto whom

the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken

..." (John 10:34-35).

A real Christian is destined to be born into the very

divine Family of God! Almost no one really seems to

understand this vital point. This is another earmark of the

true Church which God has called out of this society and


How to Find the True Church 35

given His truth to. Jesus said: "... It is given unto you to

know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven ..." (Matt.

13:11).

(To really fully understand God's plan of salvation,

we recommend that you send for two of our free booklets

on the subject. They are titled: What Is a Real Christian?

and Just What Do You Mean - Born Again?)

Must Bear the Fruits of God's Spirit

Since it is the possession of God's Spirit that makes

one a member of the true Church, then we must also look

for unmistakable evidence of those fruits. Jesus tells us

how to tell the difference between a false prophet and a

true representative of God:

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in

sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes

of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings

forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil

fruit" (Matt. 7:15-17).

What are the results of the labors of this world's

churches? Poverty, squalor, misinformation, broken

homes, divorces, permissiveness, etc.

But what are the fruits borne by those who possess

God's Holy Spirit? "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,

peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,

temperance: against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).

The Name of the True Church

There are as many names as there are churches. But

what name did God place upon His people? What name

does God use for His Church in the Bible?

Surprisingly, the term "Christian" was first coined at

the Gentile city of Antioch. "And the disciples were called

Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). Antioch became

the headquarters for the Apostle Paul's evangelistic efforts

to the Greek-speaking world.

The expression "Christian" is used only twice more in

the Bible - by King Herod Agrippa II (Acts 26:28), and

by the Apostle Peter in I Peter 4:16. Peter wrote: "Yet if


36 Where Is God's True Church Today?

any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed;

but let him glorify God on this behalf."

But it is not used as the name of the Church! It is just

a label hung on those who followed Christ by those who

did not! (Of course, the term "Christian" is not a pagan

word and it is perfectly all right to use it in print and

conversation.)

Jesus prayed that God the Father would keep the

Church in His (the Father's) own name (John 17:11). But

Christ is the Head of the Church (Col. 1:18). And Christ is

God!

The Church is actually an extension of the Family of

God. Paul wrote: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ofwhom the whole family

in heaven and earth is named" (Eph. 3:14-15).

The Church is named by the Family name of God.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the churches, he used

the expression "to the church of God ..." This name is

used no less than twelve times in the New Testament as

the name of the true Church (see accompanying box).

Notice that Paul did not call the true Church after

the name of a man or a method or even a church doctrine.

Therefore we see that the true Church may be properly

identified by its name, "the Church of God."

But there are many churches with this same name. At

least a dozen churches bear the name "Church of God" in

the United States alone.

Therefore we must look further.

The True Church

Keeps God's Sabbath

Not only must the true Church be named the Church

of God, it must also be a Sabbath-keeping Church. We are

told that the true Church keeps "the commandments of

God" (Rev. 12:17). This includes the fourth commandment:

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six

days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the

seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God ..." (Ex.

20:8-10).

God did not make any other day holy! The seventhday

Sabbath was to become an identifying sign between


The

True Hallie

of the True Church

What is the biblical name for the Church? The Bible gives the

true name of the Church in twelve different places. Twelve is

God's complete number for organizational beginnings.

In five scriptural passages where the true name of the Church

appears, the entire Body of Christ - the Church as a whole

including all individual members - is indicated:

1) " ... Feed the church of God" (Acts 20:28).

2) "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles,

nor to the church of God" (I Cor. 10:32).

3) " ... Or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that

have not?" (I Cor. 11 :22.)

4) " ... Because I persecuted the church of God" (I Cor.

15:9).

5) " ... Beyond measure I persecuted the church of God" (Gal.

1:13).

Where one specific local congregation is mentioned, the true

Church is also called "the Church of God." Usually it is used in

connection with the place or location.

6) "The church of God which is at Corinth" (I Cor. 1 :2).

7) "The church of God which is at Corinth" (II Cor. 1:1).

8) "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall

he take care of the church of God?" (I Tim. 3:5.)

9) " ... Behave thyself in the house of God, which is the

church of the living God" (I Tim. 3: 15).

In speaking of the local congregations collectively - not as

one general Body - but as the total of all local congregations,

the Bible name is again "the Church of God." Here are the final

three verses:

10) " ... We have no such custom, neither the churches of

God" (I Cor. 11 :16).

11) "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God

which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus" (I Thess. 2: 14).

12) "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God"

(II Thess. 1:4).

Since Christ is the Head of the Church, Paul also called the

various congregations "the churches of Christ" (Rom. 16: 16) ­

but the actual name is The Church of God.

In some New Testament instances, a descriptive adjective is

added to the name, as the Church of God at Corinth, or the

Churches of God in Judaea. And - today, it is The Worldwide

Church of God.


38 Where Is God's True Church Today?

God and His people. "It is a sign between me and the

children of Israel for ever ..." (Ex. 31:17). Today's Christians

are spiritual Israelites (Gal. 3:29).

The ancient Israelites were also called the "church in

the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). God has never changed His

Sabbath sign! Man is not authorized to change what God

has ordained from creation. There is no biblical sanction

for Sunday-keeping whatsoever. Jesus and the Apostle

Paul kept the seventh-day Sabbath. It will be kept by all

the world - Gentile and Israelite alike - in tomorrow's

world when the Kingdom of God reigns (Isa. 66:22, 23).

(For a complete exposition of the Sabbath day, be sure to

write for our free booklet Which Day Is the Christian

Sabbath?)

The keeping of God's seventh-day Sabbath is a further

way of isolating and identifying the true Church of God.

This narrows the field considerably.

The true Church of God should be showing the way to

world peace and human harmony. It should be demonstrating

proper family relations (Mal. 4:5-6). It should be

living by and practicing every word of God' (Matt. 4:4;

Luke 4:4). God's Church does not attempt to "demythologize

the Bible," it believes all of the Bible to be inspired

and God-breathed. God's people believe that "all scripture

is given by inspiration of God ..." (II Tim. 3:16).

True Christians derive their doctrines strictly from

the Bible (Isa. 8:20). They do not rely on human traditions

or ideas.

The true Church uses the Old Testament as did

Christ, the Apostle Paul and all the other New Testament

apostles and elders. It does not merely hold to the

"Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament" as some seem

to do.

To Summarize

The Church of God, then, must be a Sabbath-keeping

Church with the correct name. It must keep all ten of the

Ten Commandments and live by every word of God - not

rejecting part of the Bible. It is God's Church because it

collectively possesses the Holy Spirit. It preaches the true


How to Find the True Church 39

gospel of the coming government of God, bearing the good

fruit of the Holy Spirit.

How many churches do you know that fit that

description?

Only God can place one into the body of Christ. The

true Church is not something you may "join" - it is

something you are immersed into by the Spirit of the

living God. But, if God is leading you by His Spirit to His

truth, it is up to you as an individual to seek Him.

Isaiah wrote: "Seek ye the Lord while he may be

found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked

forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:

and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy

upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon"

(Isa. 55:6-7).

And God warns through the same prophet: "And

there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up

himself to take hold of thee ..." (Isa. 64:7).

Will you stir yourself up? Will you search out the true

Church and become a part of it? It is your choice! D


ADDITIONAL READING

Ambassador College publishes many colorful, informative

booklets on a wide range of biblical topics. Four are

listed below.

Does it make any difference which day we observe?

Does the Bible establish Sunday as the Lord's Day? Was

the Sabbath given for the Jewish people only - while

Christians are commanded to keep Sunday as the Lord's

Day?

What are the very basic, down-to-earth fundamentals

of Christianity - the very heart, root, and core of the

teachings of Christ? And did Jesus teach that real repentance

and water baptism are necessary for salvation?

Is water baptism essential to salvation? What about

the thief on the cross? Was he saved without it? What is

the proper form or mode - sprinkling, pouring or immersion?

Should babies and children be baptized?

This is the true story of a unique church that has

found the solution for the world's ills, and puts it into a

living application that is producing a harvest of peace,

happiness and abundant well-being worldwide.

Write for your personal copies of the above booklets.

They are sent free as an educational service in the public

interest. Worldwide mailing addresses are at the end of

this booklet.


B

ibleis

ook

ELIEVE it or not, the Bible was written for our day,

this age - this generation! The Bible is the most

up-to-date book you can read today.

In the pages of this II Book that nobody knows" are

revealed the causes of all of todavs ills - the social

problems, the economic problems, and even the threat

of nuclear annihilation hanging over mankind today.

The Bible shows where world events are leading,

and what the final outcome will be.

But ironically, this "Book of all books" is the LEAST

UNDERSTOOD of all books!

Why?

Simply because when most people try to read the

Bible, they can't understand it. Consequently, they assume

it's out of date and irrelevant in our modern age.

But you can understand it.

Here's how!

For more than a decade and a half, Ambassador

College has been helping thousands to become II Biblical

literates" through the Ambassador College Correspondence

Course. This unique course of Biblical


understanding has led over 200,000 students in nearly

every country on earth to a greater knowledge and understanding

of the Bible.

This course has been designed to guide you

through a systematic study of your own Bible - the

Bible is the only textbook.

A different major subject of vital interest in this

fantastic push-button age is thoroughly gone into

and made clear with each 16-page, monthly lesson.

There are no assignments or tests to send in. You

review and evaluate your own progress at home. And

there is no tuition cost to you whatsoever.

This course is absolutely free! Just write to the following

address and ask to be enrolled. You'll be glad

you did.

AMBASSADOR COLLEGE

CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

Pasadena, California 91123

If you live outside the United States, please see

the mailing addresses on the next page.


MAILING ADDRESSES WORLDWIDE:

IN THE UNITED STATES

AMBASSADOR COLLEGE PRESS

~O.Box111

Pasadena, California 91123

IN AFRICA

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Republic of South Africa

IN THE PHILIPPINES

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Makari, Rizal D-708

IN AUSTRALIA & SOUTHEAST ASIA

G. ~ O. Box 345

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Australia

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OR

IN FRENCH LANGUAGE

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AND BELGIUM

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England

THIS BOOKLET IS NOT TO BE SOLD. It is provided as a

public service in the public interest by Ambassador College - made

possible by the contributions of those who, voluntarily, have become

co-workers in support of this worldwide work. Ambassador College,

as a separate corporation, is associated with the Worldwide Church

of God, and a portion of the financial needs of the work is supplied

by that Church. The publishers have nothing to sell, and although

contributions are gratefully welcomed, no solicitation is ever made

to the public for financial support.


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